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Author Topic: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars  (Read 2202 times)

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Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #80 on: February 10, 2019, 05:23:59 pm »
Please anyone. Some of the pic's are not showing is it because i read to fast for them to download, or am i missing a certain program or app

As wilfwalk mentioned....probably slow internet. Hope you manage to view them eventually. Thanks for following.
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
* Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 * A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  *  Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots ~ Kubu Island @ High Tide ~March'16 * A Piece of Pondoland ~ May2018*
 

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #81 on: February 10, 2019, 05:26:45 pm »
The value of good photography ! What beautiful sunsets and scenery. Thanks for an amazing trip report. It makes my day. What are we readers going to do when its over - perish the thought ! Much respect to you all three of you in those tough conditions, well done.

MRK - I think your internet is just slow.

Thanks wilfwalk....appreciate the positive feedback. Will be posting more tonight. Enjoy!
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
* Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 * A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  *  Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots ~ Kubu Island @ High Tide ~March'16 * A Piece of Pondoland ~ May2018*
 
The following users thanked this post: WILDSIDES offspring

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #82 on: February 10, 2019, 08:55:28 pm »

DAY 9:   MONDAY 24 DECEMBER 2018
MBAMBA BAY to SOMEWHERE ON THE MOZAMBIQUE SHORE
FERRY TRIP!



“It’s a magical world, ol’  buddy....
...Let’s go exploring!”                       Calvin & Hobbes



This map indicates the route we had planned to do...either going to Songea and then down south...or the short cut, avoiding Songea...and very crudely showing our actual route on the ferry. This map is for the next 2 days.

It was a comfortable night’s sleep and for once the rains didn’t taunt us. The skies were clear and our spirits lifted. We were looking forward to another day of lazing around and exploring our surroundings. Kingsley and Peter ended up going back to the port to find out about ferries as no one was around yesterday to assist, while Roxy and I lazed around on the beach and spent time entertaining the monkeys. We had grown fond of this place. Peter was the manager here but his uncle, who was married to a German lady, owned it. On the visitors register one could see that it was the Germans and Australians who favored this camp and strangely enough no South Africans. There is other accommodation available in Mbamba Bay but we didn’t have time to check it out. 

Kingsley returned with the news that there was a ferry departing from the port within the next hour ,and it would reach Likoma Island in about 9 hours (despite its close proximity to Mozambique, it falls under Malawi).  Awesome... we weren’t allowing ourselves to see this ferry trip as a cop out to our original plans as we had got further than expected and weren’t turning back as we were still ‘squaring the circle’ as best we can. Admittedly, this ferry trip would be an easy way out but at the same time something different, exciting and unexpected. This 90 km ferry trip would save us the long wet, muddy 420 km inland trip through the border post, over the mountains and back to the shoreline at Cobue.

With great enthusiasm we packed, loaded our bikes, said our farewells and admired the passing scenery again as we headed into town. We stocked up with some water and biscuits at the local shop before heading to the immigration and customs office next to the port to get stamped out of Tanzania.






All excited we rushed off again to where the ferry was departing from as we didn’t want to be late...and to my horror there was this same type of little s*#t boat we saw at Nkata Bay. The only thing in its favour though was the little blue plastic shelter. Okay...I had to be mature about this and remind myself why we were doing this.... at least we would be close to the shore...the locals were using this mode of transport all the time ...it was too late to change our minds...I finally came to terms with our situation and convinced myself that all would be fine as it would only take 9 hours....we were now committed.








While we waited for the ‘Ferry man’ to arrive we watched in awe as loads and loads and loads of supplies were being carried from a building to the ferry. Huge sacks of maize, sacks of wash powder, cases of cold drinks, pockets of cement, plastic containers, bags of luggage, more and more and more boxes of stuff just kept coming. Now we started worry if we would even get a space to sit let alone get three heavy motorbikes onto the boat. The longer we sat there and watched the more convinced we were that getting on that ferry was not going to be possible. There were so many people around also waiting to clamber aboard.













Eventually the Boss Man arrived and told us we had to pay him more money than was previously discussed as our bikes were bigger than he expected. The price was already 300 000 Tsh (+/- R1800). Kingsley stood his ground and refused to pay more as we had no more Tsh. Eventually they agreed to accept that price and they called some strong guys over to load the bikes. Now they demanded some money...fair enough I suppose...so we parted with another USD15. I couldn’t actually believe that they were still able to find space for us. However, they did have to off load several bags of cement to allow for the weight of our bikes.

It was fascinating to see how quickly and efficiently these guys loaded our bikes. Within about 20 minutes our bikes were neatly packed and stable on the ferry. But to my dismay I also noticed how buckets of water were being scooped up from within the ferry and tossed overboard. Should I be freaked out!?



My bike being loaded.
















Roxy's bike being loaded. They appeared rather amused by the fact that her bike was so small.












Kingsley's bike getting heaved on. We had to remove our  luggage as it was rather heavy.












The three bikes all looking comfy and ready to sail.


Just ensuring that a few safety measures are put in place !!   :o :o


"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
* Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 * A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  *  Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots ~ Kubu Island @ High Tide ~March'16 * A Piece of Pondoland ~ May2018*
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #83 on: February 10, 2019, 09:48:27 pm »

The boat was already sitting low in the water as the people began to wade knee deep, with their personal belongings, and climb aboard and heaven only knows where they were all going to sit. The only way to access this boat was to walk carefully along the strip of wood around the edge of it, hunched forward so as to avoid bashing your head on the shelter. Negotiating this with a backpack, a helmet, heavy wet boots and one hand was rather tricky but by some miracle we all found a space on top of, in between, next to, squashed up and firmly ensconced in any available gap. Oh yes...a box of chickens also made their way on to the pile of passengers. One lady made herself comfy on top of Kingsley’s bike, Roxy was initially perched on top of several cases of cold drink, Kingsley wedged himself between a wooden support and a bag of wash powder while I perched on the edge of a narrow strip of wood. We tried as best we could to make ourselves comfortable while looking forward to this little snap decision adventure.









All aboard!







Finally, shortly after midday we were putting slowly out of the bay. A few minutes into our great adventure the motor spluttered to a halt and all engine life was lost. Well now, that was a reassuring start! Fortunately the tiller man knew what to do and we spluttered back to life cruising at a mean 10 km/hour. This occurred a few more times














As we left the bay and rounded the head land we saw a huge hotel perched on the edge with an awesome view of the lake. This took us by surprise as it appeared out of place and we were totally unaware of it. To be quite honest we all preferred our basic accommodation at the Bio Camp.






The local passengers appeared to be wary of us and I felt as if we might have been trespassing as there were no exchanges of smiles or any attempts at pleasantries. One chap spoke a bit of English but also said very little, however, two chaps just behind us, handling the boat were rather pleasant.




As the time passed the three of us shifted around and changed butt positions regularly looking for a better spot. Everything seemed too hard, too bumpy, too narrow and just simply uncomfortable. Yet the other passengers hardly moved and all appeared to be comfortable and satisfied with their spot.



As we putted forward at a snails pace, rocking side-to-side with the bashing of the small waves we became quite sleepy but had nowhere to lean back on and rest the wary head. At one stage I had my legs dangling over the edge into the water and tried to lean against the sacks. We were still in our riding gear but had removed our boots and shoved them under the bikes.  There was a narrow space between the bikes and other supplies that had no pallet on top and the water sloshed back and forth through the length of the boat. This was a place to avoid placing bare feet.



Every so often the guy at the front of the boat would start bailing buckets of water from the boat into the lake. I tried hard not to dwell on this. After what seemed like hours we could look into the distance and still see where we had come from – we were going somewhere slowly!  At one stage we stopped near the shore and a small boat paddle out to us with more passengers and luggage.....yes....more passengers and luggage and boxes and boxes of supplies. These were tossed unceremoniously on top of the other stuff and the new passengers somehow found a place to settle









This collecting of passengers happened a few more times that afternoon. At one beach stop we were allowed to get off and run to the end of the beach to find a bush.




At the final stop there was a lot of shouting going on between our boat and the other little boats. It appeared people were being turned away. I kept thinking that we had encroached on their space and perhaps they were annoyed with us.

Later in the afternoon it started to rain and the make shift roof turned into an amazing reservoir that decided to leak onto any limb or body that was in its way. To add to this torment the occasional careless wave crashed over the edge and added to the collection at the bottom of the boat. No one appeared to be concerned so we sat there and tried our best to ignore the discomfort and enjoy our ‘magical adventure’!

After what seemed like ages it started to get dark. This made it very difficult for the skipper to see the fishing nets stretched out in the water which resulted in nets being dragged and caught up in the propeller and this would take up a bit of time to cut away. I was just hoping that they had taken into account all these little delays when they told us it would take 9 hours as I was now really looking forward to reaching Likoma Island.

 As the blackened sky and the darkening water merged into each other so the many lit hurricane lamps from the distant fishing boats and dugouts began to twinkle in the darkness, now creating ‘the lake of stars’. It was actually David Livingston, over 150 years ago, who famously named Lake Malawi, ‘The lake of Stars’.  It looked so peaceful out there in the darkness and accompanied with the lulling noise of the engine and the gentle rocking of the boat it gave one a false sense of pleasure and relaxation.
 
We tried to scan the horizon for any signs of the Island protruding out into the darkness but there was nothing yet. Surely it wouldn’t be much longer. But our skipper had other plans!! At about 10 pm we turned in towards the shore and headed for the few nearby lights. In broken English we were told that the weather was bad and we would stop here for 2 hours. Well, it wasn’t raining, the wind wasn’t blowing, the water was calm and a few stars were visible, so all looked hunky-dory to us. But, who were we to argue...we were in their hands now. Once anchor was thrown we all scrambled off the boat, some with blankets,  into warm knee-deep water and waded to shore to wait out the ‘bad weather’. Everyone just filtered into the darkness and disappeared but one lady, whom I hadn’t even been aware of on the boat, came up to us and indicated a sleeping position with her hands against her face. We assumed that she was going home to sleep and we waved her goodbye with lovely cheerful smiles, chuffed that she had taken the time to be polite and acknowledge us. We sat on the beach, in our wet riding gear and waited... and waited... and waited. Then the penny dropped....we had been abandoned. That friendly lady was indicating to us to get some sleep!  There was no intention of getting us to Likoma Island as this was Christmas Eve and clearly everyone had their own plans! We were left to sleep on the shore while everybody else had deserted us to find a place to sleep and probably find something to eat as well. For today, this was clearly the end of the line!

Once we had accepted our demise we tried to make ourselves as comfortable as possible on the lumpy damp sand.







 Eventually I decided the boat would be more comfortable. Leaving Kingsley and Roxy sleeping in the sand, I waded back, climbed aboard and with the help of the feint glow from the bare globe swinging from the beam I stretched out uncomfortably on the 6 inch plank along the side of the boat, found a tattered life jacket for my pillow and willed sleep to overcome me. A slight drizzle, later in the night, (aaahh...our bad weather)  forced Kingsley and Roxy back on board as well.


"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
* Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 * A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  *  Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots ~ Kubu Island @ High Tide ~March'16 * A Piece of Pondoland ~ May2018*
 
The following users thanked this post: MRK Miller, wilfwalk

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #84 on: February 10, 2019, 11:55:37 pm »
 At one beach stop we were allowed to get off and run to the end of the beach to find a bush.

I was wandering about the size of your bladders!!? :eek7: :o
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Offline Three Dawg

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #85 on: February 12, 2019, 10:49:18 am »
Excellent, another Wildside cracker!
 
The following users thanked this post: wildside

Offline WILDSIDES offspring

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #86 on: February 13, 2019, 08:30:50 pm »
The young lady, Roxy, is she your daughter, is she spoken for  :deal:
[/quote] haha all about the ride

Find it interesting that she rides without the jacket most of the way, and no one has had anything to say about it. Must be that charming smile, that keeps the silent.  :lol8: Anyways, awesome report and worthy of honory role. Would also love to see that area, as i would a 100 other areas :imaposer:. Love your outfits, i am cutrious though if the back packs don't put a lot of straighn on your shoulders, and when standing, does it not impact your movements. I am lucky in the sence my wife is also my riding partner, with now my eldest son who just turned 18, and after doing one elegal trip he is now legal on the raod. Dec we whent riding as a family, all 5 of us. Was awesome. So having your girl tag along i know is really special. Enjoying your writing, and your trips. You choose your areas well. Thanks for keeping our dreams alive
    I've never been one for the full riding gear , despite my parents content efforts.

Thanks for your  response and interest in the RR. Roxy is so used riding around Bali, where she lived for 3 years, with no protective gear. On all our adventure rides safety has always been compromised for a degree of comfort and we have settled for helmets and boots. The other protective wear are uncomfortable and on longer, wet/hot trips come with hygiene problem. During normal travelling the backpack rests on the seat and one is actually unaware it's even there. When standing we find it best to have the backpack weight added to the body weight on the foot pegs rather than strapped to the bike, baring in mind we are slow riders. We also don't pack them heavy and they're very comfortable. I believe it also offers us some sort of a back brace in case of accident..
You are very fortunate to have your family share your interests and experiences with you. Wishing you many happy and safe trips together. :thumleft:

Thank you for the feedback. We feel the same around the safety gear, although i got my wife one of those amatilda vests. The back pack theory make sence when you think about, weight on pegs and so forth. I know from a lot of hiking done in previous years that they are very comphy. Enjoying your writing still. Makes night shift sweeter. Looking forward to the rest
" the chrome and steel she rides " -  unknown legend, Neil Young
 
The following users thanked this post: MRK Miller

Offline WILDSIDES offspring

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #87 on: February 13, 2019, 09:27:37 pm »

We stopped at little villages along the way to look for a nut for the axle. The chaps repairing bikes were very willing to help but also came up with nothing suitable as the size was always wrong.
So between Kingsley and I, we kept a sharp eye on the axle.



Reinforcing the cable ties.


Rain and road....just a different surface.

It was actually a pleasant ride, despite the intermittent rain and regular stops to check axle and a relief to arrive in Songea which was a busy town with lots more to offer than Njombe. Our first thought was to get to our accommodation as it was still raining and we were keen to find the Ruhuwiko Hunt Club which was a few kilometers out of town on the A19 road heading west towards the lake.

We soon settled into our room with a mattress on the floor for Roxy. It was a pleasant spot but very quiet. While relaxing at the bar and restaurant I phoned my son in Indonesia as we hadn’t made contact for a few days now.  He was in such a state and had already put out a missing persons report after contacting the embassies and various lodges that I had on our itinerary which changed after the second day of our trip. The Matema Lakeside Lodge reassured him that we had been there but left no forwarding address and that was the last he had heard about us. Panic stations. He firmly believed that we were very irresponsible doing this trip. If he had his own way he would have had us on a plane, out of there and back home.

I prepared him for our next 3 days of no contact as once again we would probably have no network. He politely informed us that our next holiday was caravaning at Shelly Beach, south of Durban. We enjoyed a little chuckle over this.


« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 09:55:31 pm by WILDSIDES offspring »
" the chrome and steel she rides " -  unknown legend, Neil Young
 
The following users thanked this post: MRK Miller

Offline wildside

Re: SQUARING THE CIRCLE ~ Lake of Stars
« Reply #88 on: February 14, 2019, 04:06:44 pm »
At one beach stop we were allowed to get off and run to the end of the beach to find a bush.

I was wandering about the size of your bladders!!? :eek7: :o

Hahahaha....it sure proved to be a bit of a challenge  :tongue3:
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
* Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 * A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  *  Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots ~ Kubu Island @ High Tide ~March'16 * A Piece of Pondoland ~ May2018*